Berlusconi trial hearing suspended over eye infection

Berlusconi trial hearing suspended over eye infection

ROME - Agence France-Presse
Berlusconi trial hearing suspended over eye infection

A file picture taken on February 1, 2012 at the Italian parliament in Rome shows Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who has been sentenced to a year in prison on March 7, 2013, over the publication of leaked transcripts from a police wiretap in a newspaper that he owns. Berlusconi, who faces two more verdicts this month for tax fraud and having sex with an underage prostitute, can appeal the conviction which would suspend the sentence under Italian law. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO

A hearing in Silvio Berlusconi's trial for having sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of office was postponed Friday after the billionaire tycoon complained of an eye infection.

Judges in Milan said the final arguments by prosecutors in the trial, which began in 2011, would be laid out on Monday instead as the trial moves towards a possible verdict this month.
The former prime minister has been suffering from uveitis -- an inflammation of the eye -- for days and was also forced to cancel a meeting scheduled for Friday with outgoing premier Mario Monti.
Prosecutors had argued that the health issues were not sufficient to postpone the hearing.

The 76-year-old's personal doctor Alberto Zangrillo said it was "nothing dramatic but a delicate situation that deserves attention".

Berlusconi is accused of having had sex for money several times in 2010 when he was prime minister with then 17-year-old Karima El-Mahroug, known by her stage name "Ruby the Heart Stealer".

He is also charged with allegedly putting pressure on police to release her from custody when she was arrested for petty theft, with prosecutors saying this was to hide their illicit tie.

Berlusconi faces up to three years in prison on the underage prostitution charge and up to 12 years on the abuse of office charge.

He already has two previous convictions -- one for tax fraud and the other for violating official secrets by publishing damaging information about a political rival in a newspaper he owned.